Short Story: Henry Blaise Meets the Babysitter
Josephine Blaise picks up a black eyeliner from her makeup counter.
I need to make these eyebrows darker. And now, for the eyes. She thought while moving the brush down to her lashes.
I need smokier gray eyeshadow.
“Looking good,” Josephine says leaning back to study both eyes.
Blood red lipstick will look great. Josephine scratches her head. “Something’s missing. I don’t look dead enough. Ah, white powder.”
There we go. Now for the cherry on top. She looks around the bedroom. Now, where did I put the black and white wig?
“Are you looking for this, Lily?” Josephine turns towards the deep voice.
Standing before her is a seven-foot-tall gray-green creature. Wearing black platform boots, deep brown slacks with a matching over-coat, and a black sweater underneath. His head is flat with a scar on his forehead and a bolt sticking out on each side of his neck.
Josephine slaps her palms together and smiles. “Oh, Thank you, Herman.”
Matthew jumps in excitement, rattling the home. He hands his wife a Lily Munster wig and watches her put it on and struggling to fit it right. He captures his reflection in the mirror.
“Do you think we’ll win best couple costume tonight, Lily dear.”
Josephine looks at him through the mirror. “I don’t see why not? We look authentic enough to be the real Munster’s.”
A tap came at their bedroom door. Matthew stomps his way over, knocking pictures off the sky-blue walls. He opens the door to find Batman sitting on the brown shag carpet with a pumpkin container on its side spilling candy all over. “What are you doing down there, son?”
John’s chestnut eyes glance up at his father. “Did we have an earthquake?”
“Sorry, son. That was me and these darn boots.” Matthew shuffles his boots to show John the weight.
John scoops the candy into his pumpkin and stands up to study his father. John shakes his head and shuffles to the front room.
“What’s up with that.” Matthew says half to himself and half to Josephine.
Josephine glides to the door and places her hand on Matthew’s arm. “He is sleepy, that’s all.”
And tired of living in this trailer. She thought as her eyes scan the room.
“What was that you said?”
“Oh, nothing, Herman dear. I didn’t say anything.”
Matthew was about to ask again but is interrupted by a knocking at the door.
“I’ll get that.” Matthew says turning for the door.
“No, you won’t. Stay here and practice on walking without causing everything to fall.”
Josephine went to the front room, stopping by John. “Hey, Batman? Can you help your mother open the door?”
John did not answer. He continued staring at the television, watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Josephine went on to the door.
The stave-core door screeches open. Josephine reaches for the storm door, unlocks it and the wind blows it out of her hand, almost hitting the babysitter. “Oh, I am so sorry, Tiffany.”
“That’s okay, Mrs. Blaise. The wind is picking up. I think it will rain.”
Josephine sticks her head out and smells the air. “Yes, a storm is looming.” She peers down at Tiffany, her golden hair sways in front of her blue eyes staring up at Josephine.
“Well, come on in, Tiffany.” Josephine smiles and gestures her inside.
Tiffany steps in, finding herself surrounded by bright, but soft colors. The front room is a pale purple and trimmed in white. The kitchen is a peachy glow, adding warmth to its small size. A wooded bar divides the kitchen and the front room.
“Thank you, ma’am.” Tiffany says turning to Josephine, “What a nice home you have here.”
“Thank you. It’s not much, but it’s home.”
Tiffany hears a noise from the hallway. The night-light gives off a glow, forming a shadow of a colossal creature creeping towards them. The shadow hits the soft light of the kitchen revealing Matthew.
“This is my husband, Matthew.”
“Well, hello there to you too.”
Tiffany stares at Mr. and Mrs. Blaise. “What are you two supposed to be?”
The couple looks at each other and back at Tiffany.
Matthew claps his hands together and bounces up and down, making the trailer shake. “We’re the Munster’s.”
Josephine shakes her head and flutters her hands. “Never mind. I want you to meet my son, John.”
John looks down the hallway, shaking his head and murmuring to himself.
“What is he doing, Ms. Blaise?”
Josephine smiles down at Tiffany. “He has an…” she forms air quotes, “imaginary friend.”
Tiffany nodded. “My little brother is the same way. He is four-years-old.”
“John is six-years-old, and it is bedtime for him.”
Josephine walks John to his bedroom.
“Can I sleep in my costume, mommy?”
“Sure, you can. Now, get in bed.”
John climbs into his Batmobile bed, clinging to his Ironman plush doll. He drags his Superman sheets up to his chin.
“Do you want mommy to read you a story?”
“No, mommy. Henry wants to tell me a story.”
“Henry.” She takes a deep breath and lets it out. “Okay.”
Josephine kisses John on the forehead. She switches on his Spiderman light which casts shadows of Spiderman in various poses upon the greige wall and white ceiling. “Now, you be a good boy for Tiffany. We won’t be home until after midnight.”
“Here is the number where you can reach us, in case of an emergency.”
Tiffany holds up her cell phone. “I got your number in my cell, Mr. Blaise.”
“Yeah, okay. Well, we have a landline on the kitchen wall. In case your cell phone stops working.”
Tiffany nods. Landline, really. She fidgets with her cell phone. “Do you have Wi-Fi, Mr. Blaise?”
Tiffany heads to the tan couch and sits down. “No worries, Mr. Blaise. I found a hot spot,”.
Matthew nods. Okay. “Well, there is food and soda in the refrigerator if you need something to nibble on.”
Tiffany nods while playing on her cell phone.
“John should sleep through the night. We’ll be home after midnight.”
Tiffany nods, still playing on her cell phone. “Sure, Mr. Blaise.”
Josephine walks into the front room. “All set, dear?”
“We’ll see you later, Tiffany,” said Josephine.
Tiffany stands up, nods and escorts them to the door. She waves goodbye to the Blaise’s and locks the storm door and the front door. She checks all the windows, making certain they are locked. When she reaches John’s room, she notices his window is open. She strolls over and closes and locks it. She swings around and finds John sitting up in bed, glaring at her.
“What is it, John?”
“Henry doesn’t like you.”
“I really don’t care what Henry thinks. He’s not real, anyway. Plus, you’re too old to have an imaginary friend.”
John shakes his head. “He’s not imaginary.”
Tiffany walks towards John and guides him back down. “Now, lay down and go to sleep.”
She heads back to the front room. She flips through the channels until she stumbles on a classic television channel. Her phone goes off and she video chats with a friend.
“This job is a breeze, June.”
“Wish you were at the Halloween party.”
Tiffany rolls her eyes. “June, Halloween parties are lame.”
“Really, then what is that grotesque prop behind you?”
“What grotesque prop?” Tiffany turns around. “There’s nobody there, June.”
“I’m not kidding you, Tiff. There was something there.”
“Stop trying to scare me, June.”
A low growl comes from the hallway.
“Did you hear that, June?”
“That growl. I bet John is playing a Halloween prank.”
“You better check on him, Tiff.”
Tiffany stands up, she switches the screen on her cell phone so that June can see. She tiptoes down the hallway to John’s room. She sees him sleeping.
“Tiff, It‘s all in your head.”
“What is it?”
“Scratching from under his bed.”
“It’s strange, June. They have the Batmobile bed on blocks.”
“Do they have a pet?”
“I don’t think so. They would’ve told me.”
Tiffany gets on her knees and turns on the cell phone’s flashlight and heads closer to the floor. She gets disconnected from June, and the light flickers. She turns her head and peers under the bed. Long arms with sharp talons grip her arms. She screams and thrashes, struggling to break free. Red eyes stare at her, its mouth, with slime dripping down opens wide, revealing its razor-sharp teeth.
John hears the crunching bones from under his bed. “Henry, don’t leave a mess this time.”